4 Resolene Alternatives for Leather Finish (That WORK!)

Resolene is a permanent and flexible leather finish that adds a thick layer to the surface of the leather to protect it against moisture, fading, cracking, peeling, and staining.

However, since Resolene is a non-permeable sealant, it tends to create a thick barrier that makes it difficult to condition or wax the leather. Due to this, many people have resulted to using resolene alternatives like tan Kote.

So in this article, we are going to look at these alternatives and their pros and cons.

Resolene alternative for leather

Resolene alternative for Leather finish to consider

Resolene finish gives the leather a soft shiny look but if this is not the kind of look you want, give the following substitutes a try.

1. Tan Kote leather finish

Tan Kote leather finish is a resin-based product of Fiebing’s just like Resolene but there are significant differences between them.

To start with, both Resolene and Tan Kote are used as leather sealants, but the latter does not completely seal leather because it is not permanent.

Also, Tan Kote has a thinner consistency and gives a sheen that is a bit subtle compared to Resolene. If you want a matte finish, consider another alternative like Bag Kote.

Another difference is that with Tan Kote finish, you can still condition or oil your leather since it’s permeable. You can also wash it off and reapply it as needed to have a fresh look.

On the downside, since Tan Kote gives a permeable finish, it does not protect leather against water so any liquid can easily pass through.

So, why would you choose Tan Kote over Resolene? Because it allows you to condition or moisturize your leather products in order to keep them soft and flexible.

Here’s a summary of the differences.

Tan Kote Resolene
Resin-based Acrylic-based
Thinner consistency Thicker consistency
Subtle sheen Glossy sheen
Not permanent Permanent
Allows conditioning and oiling Does not allow conditioner or oil to pass through
Not water-resistant Water-resistant
Can be applied over leather dye and antiques Can be applied over leather dye and antiques
Not ideal for suede Not ideal for suede

2. Leather Sheen Spray

Another effective sealant that can be used in place of Resolene is Leather Sheen.

It is a permanent acrylic paint used as a leather finish to protect and give it a mellow or glossy shine just like Resolene.

Actually, these two sealants are more similar than different.

They are both flexible but tend to make the surface non-porous enabling the leather to become water-resistant. This means that you cannot condition or moisturize your leather since the coating is non-permeable.

However, Leather Sheen contains leather conditioning ingredients so it keeps the leather moisturized even after sealing.

Additionally, it comes in a spray can, which makes it easier to apply compared to Resolene.

3. Saddle lac

During my research, I found that Saddle Lac is also highly recommended by many experienced leather crafters.

It comes as an aerosol spray just like leather sheen and all you need is to spray a light coat on the leather to protect it from the harsh weather elements.

This finish is similar to Resolene in that it dries quickly and leaves a shiny glossy sheen on the leather surface. Also, it forms a waterproof barrier after it dries and does not rub off or stain other surfaces.

However, saddle lac does not stiffen leather; rather it leaves it flexible. So if you need to stiffen your leather crafts, Resolene would be a better choice.

The only downside to using the saddle lac spray is that when your leather items are rained on, the finish tends to crack as the leather dries.

4. RTC finish

RTC leather finish is highly recommended for all top grain leather as it is mainly used to antique or stain it.

It is wax-based and known to provide superior resistance to water and other elements compared to Resolene. Also, it allows the leather to breathe so you can condition or oil your leather when necessary.

Additionally, the RTC leather finish is long-lasting and does not peel or crack over time even as the leather ages.

You are advised to not use it on Nubuck or suede as it can cause irreparable damage. In fact, all the leather finishes we have discussed in this article should not be used on Suede or Nubuck items.

5. Fiebing’s Pro Resist leather finish

Fiebing’s Pro Resist is also used as a leather sealant to protect your leather items from sun, moisture, and dirt.

It is mainly used to achieve good contrast when staining or antiquing leather. Actually, most people find it to be more effective when antiquing than Resolene and Tan Kote.

In addition, it differs from Resolene in that it is water soluble. But once it dries, its resist ability is quite effective on smooth as well as carved leather.

Moreover, Pro Resist does not block the leather pores so it allows the leather to breathe and prevents clogging.

Take away points 

  • Resolene is a permanent acrylic-based leather finish that provides good leather protection.
  • Some people don’t like the fact that it is permanent and prevents conditioning and oiling of leather so they prefer to use other alternatives
  • In this article, we have looked at 5 alternatives, which are; Tan Kote, Leather Sheen spray, saddle lac, RTC finish, and Fiebing’s Pro Resist finish
  • These substitutes are similar to Resolene with minor differences like leather flexibility and breathability and the ability to condition and oil your leather items.
  • If you don’t want a permanent leather finish, Tan Kote is a great option. And if you don’t want to stiffen your items, consider going for Saddle lac.




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